Paper Money

Series 1934 $1 note has wrong face design

A previously unknown $1 silver certificate with the design type of a Series 1928 $1 silver certificate but series dated 1934 has been given a new Friedberg number and authenticated as genuine.

Paper Money Guaranty has authenticated the note as a transitional error. The note will be referred to as a Friedberg 1605a (Paper Money of the United States by Arthur L. and Ira S. Friedberg).

“It is a rare, if not extraordinary event, when in a field as well-researched and documented as modern U.S. currency, we have the need to introduce a new Friedberg number,” Arthur Friedberg said. “This is one of those moments — equally incredible and unsuspected. While it is obviously a transitional type, we feel it should be treated not as an error but in the same manner in which a similar large-size type note would be treated.”

Paper money dealers Frederick J. Bart and Jesse Lipka are acting as agents for the owner, who wishes to remain anonymous. The note was purchased in a six-note lot of Series 1928 and 1934 $1 silver certificates sold in an Internet auction July 6, 2010, by Heritage.

Bart said the note will be reholdered by PMG now that the note has received its new Friedberg number. The note was encapsulated by PMG before a new number could be confirmed. PMG graded the note About Uncirculated 50 with Exceptional Paper Quality.

The note bears the signatures of U.S. Treasurer W.A. Julian and Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr., which are the correct signatures for a 1934 $1 silver certificate.

The note bears the designs used for Series 1928 through Series 1928E $1 silver certificates. The face of the note features the blue Treasury seal to the left of the portrait of George Washington and a large black one to the right of the portrait. The back features a large centered one over which is superimposed one dollar, with surrounding scrollwork.

All normal Series 1934 notes bear the same back design as found on the discovery piece, but a revised face design. The revised design that should have been used for the Series 1934 note bears a large numeral 1 to the left of the Washington portrait and the blue Treasury seal superimposed over the word one to the right of the portrait.

How was it created?

“Several schools of thought are attached the creation of this amazing discovery. The first is that it was from the first sheets printed, before it was decided that the new 1934 [notes] should have a redesigned face and new numbering beginning with A00000001A, which would make the variety akin to a 1935G no motto silver certificate, albeit with great rarity,” according to Bart and Lipka.

“Another school of thought is that a first printing sheet of the 1934 was mixed in with 1928E sheets receiving their overprints. If this is the case, it would have been created much in the same way a changeover pair is created. If this is the case the variety would be roughly equivalent to the unique Friedberg 1192a, an early $50 gold certificate bearing the later small red seal. That unique note, despite being from a series few collect by Friedberg variety, fetched $287,500 in a Heritage auction a little over two years ago,” according to the news release.

“The final theory is that [the] note represents a ‘Piece de Caprice,’ a term coined by the great pattern coin specialist Dr. [J. Hewitt] Judd, referring to coins produced by Mint personnel using the Mint equipment and facility that were unauthorized. In this event the transitional note would be directly equivalent to the famous 1913 V nickel, only rarer. Regardless of how this fascinating note came into existence, its importance to the hobby cannot be underestimated,” Bart and Lipka said.

Contact Bart at (586) 979-3400 or e-mail him at, or Lipka at or (908) 500-1885. ¦

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